The Superior Court of Pennsylvania was established in 1895 and is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. Cases are usually heard by panels of three judges sitting in Philadelphia, Harrisburg or Pittsburgh. The Superior Court also travels to locations throughout Pennsylvania to hear cases.
The PA Superior Court has always been one of the busiest appellate courts in the nation and fields over seven thousand appeals annually. It would not be unusual for each judge to write hundreds of decisions per year. That's in addition to the other work performed by Superior Court Judges which includes handling motions and reviewing wiretap applications.
As such, the work of the Superior Court requires a judge who can get to the heart of the issue quickly.
The Superior Court is responsible for appeals in criminal and most civil cases from the Courts of Common Pleas involving private parties. It also handles contract disputes, real estate disputes, criminal appeals, family law and juvenile matters.
It is often the final arbiter of legal disputes, and is sometimes referred to as the court of last resort. While the Supreme Court may grant a petition to review a decision, most petitions are denied and the ruling of the Superior Court stands. As such, the depth and breadth of the cases heard by the Superior Court can have a profound effect on the law, and the lives of every Pennsylvanian.